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T: 01343 830270 M: 07584 878593


Duffus Estate and the Dunbar family

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A new age for the house

Duffus House was built by James Sutherland, then Lord Duffus, when the rapidly subsiding Duffus Castle became uninhabitable. It is thought that some of the stone from Duffus Castle was used in the construction of the house. Until the 1930’s, Duffus House remained the historic seat of the Dunbar family, either as a principle home or as a holiday retreat.


With ever increasing running costs, an opportunity presented itself to the Dunbar family, when Kurt Hahn, an exiled German educator was seeking a property in which to start a school. Due to Kurt Hahn’s links with the then Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald (born in Lossiemouth), Moray was suggested as a possible location. As a result, in 1934 Gordonstoun School was founded and the Dunbar family moved out of Duffus House, further down the drive into The Old Manse.

The school remained in Duffus House until the start of World War Two when the house was taken over for use as army barracks and the school relocated to Wales. The foundations of various nissan huts and army buildings can still be seen in the policy woods. After the war, Gordonstoun School returned to what is now the main campus, neighbouring Duffus Estate. Since then, Duffus House has continued to be let to the school as a boys boarding house, with Prince Edward a former resident.

The Dunbar Family

The Dunbar family have been in Duffus since the late 1600’s after Sir William Dunbar of Northfield was granted the Baronecy of Nova Scotia by the King William III in April 1700. The current 12th baronet and owner of Duffus Estate, Sir Edward Dunbar, inherited the Estate from his father, Sir Archibald, in 2015.

Ed, a Chartered Surveyor, manages the Estate with the help of his wife, Caroline, who runs the holiday property enterprise. They have two young children, Isla and Samuel. Many of their ancestors are buried in the family tomb at St Peters Kirk, by Duffus.

The Future

In August 2017 the family, and Duffus House, entered a new phase in its history as our lease to Gordonstoun finished.

Our Ethos

People, specifically our staff and guests, are at the core of our business and we want both to feel valued and happy.

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